The Milky Way is the most precious daughter; The Earth is the only world with fresh breath.
The world is a universal entity that has similar owners for every molecule. These tiny molecules create a vast environment filled with fantasies and miracles. The atmosphere is a precious surrounding that includes a green background and all human-made things: mental, psychological, physical, and genetic well-being depends on both exogenic and endogenic stimuli, which can be identified as health.
However, every year, we as humans on Earth celebrate World Environmental Health Day on the 26th of September, since 2011, under a specific theme that matches the year’s most recognized health and environmental problem.
The International Federation of Environmental Health (IFEH) has been the guardian of this day since 2011, highlighting the importance of caring for environmental health. Each year, the IFEH stands for a unique theme. The last time, it was ‘Strengthening Environmental Health Systems for the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’. Where as, this year, the theme of “Global environmental public health: standing up to protect everyone’s health each and every day”. These themes are always set with the ultimate goal of meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in mind.
In today’s interconnected world, a remarkable tapestry is woven, where our well-being and the environment are inseparable threads. Imagine a world where environmental health experts safeguard our well-being. They monitor air quality, yet shockingly, 91% of the world breathes polluted air, causing 4.2 million premature deaths annually. Access to clean water, a fundamental right, is still denied to 2.2 billion people, resulting in 1.6 million waterborne deaths, mainly children. Experts also protect our food supply, yet 48 million Americans fall ill yearly due to food-borne diseases. Strategies against diseases transmitted by vectors like mosquitoes have reduced malaria deaths by 409,000 in 2019. Environmental public health teams prepare for natural disasters; their number has surged from 78 in 1970 to 394 in 2019, demanding swift action to save lives.
However, the greatest challenge is climate change, a looming public health crisis. With global temperatures rising, it brings diverse health impacts like heat-related illnesses and increased vector-borne diseases. The urgency to act is undeniable.
Environmental justice is an essential aspect of this tapestry. Marginalized communities often bear the brunt of pollution and lack access to green spaces, exemplified by the Flint water crisis.
So, how can we tackle the challenge of “Standing Up to Protect Everyone’s Health Each and Every Day” in global environmental health? Several vital strategies emerge. Comprehensive education and awareness campaigns are essential to highlight the impact of environmental factors on public health. Policy advocacy is crucial for regulations prioritizing clean air, water, food safety, and climate change mitigation. Engaging communities fosters responsibility, while innovative technology enhances environmental health monitoring. Climate resilience strategies and addressing health inequities ensure a healthier environment for all. International collaboration and research are vital, as ecological health issues transcend borders.
One innovative solution is the creation of a “Green Health Ambassador” program. Empowering individuals from diverse backgrounds as advocates for environmental sustainability and public health can inspire eco-friendly actions, fostering a grassroots movement.
In conclusion, global environmental health is a beacon of hope and resilience. We’ve explored multifaceted strategies to protect both our health and the planet. The relentless efforts of environmental health professionals send a powerful message: we can craft a healthier, more equitable world. It’s a challenge that calls us all to action, where the path may be challenging, but we find boundless potential for positive change.
“The only way forward, if we are going to improve the quality of the environment, is to get everybody involved.”
– Richard Rogers-
Together, let’s fortify the bridge between environmental well-being and human health, protecting the essence of life itself each and every day.
Written by: Methmi Chandrasiri